Sunday, February 17, 2008

My reaction to the disagreement between VA and LA

(Note: This entry has been expanded at the bottom of the page.)

Not that I think my opinion matters to anyone, or that I think it should matter to anyone, but I needed to express it anyhow.

My reaction overall can be summed up in one word: Unfortunate.

Beyond that, let me say in defense of Auster's readership (Mr. Auster can defend himself) that I do not appreciate the charge leveled against them of being "sycophants." It's not a fair assessment, nor an accurate one as a rule, in my opinion.

If I, as a VFR reader, have disagreed with Lawrence Auster once during the relatively short period of time that I've been reading both VFR and VA, I've disagreed with him at least fifty times, and probably many more times than that. I've posted my own articles here at this blog citing some of our more notable disagreements, as some of you already know. And it's not that I take the charge personally. I don't because it simply does not apply to me, and if you think it does, well, that's your opinion which you're entitled to, but it's an uninformed and a stupid one, to be frank.

The reason I'm offended by it has very little to do with myself, but more to do with other VFR readers -- the majority who comment there -- most of whom have also had serious disagreements with Auster, and far from seeking his favor, often and to the contrary, seem to be after the exact opposite. But it seems to be the opinion of some that if you overlook Auster's tendency to be direct in defending his position, and continue reading and commenting agreeably at VFR, then you're obviously an Auster sycophant. Seriously, folks, do you not realize how ignorant (not to mention "liberal") this makes you appear?

So you're personally put off by Auster's style and you don't read him anymore because of it. Fine. But why do you feel it necessary to charge his readers with this accusation? And on what legitimate basis do you lay the charge? Be aware that by your standard for what constitutes a sycophant, the same could be said of you yet no-one that I'm aware of is saying it of you. Who, therefore, has the moral highground, and the superior claim to being a genuine conservative, I ask?

I respect both VA and LA for their individual talents and their relentless defense of traditional conservatism. And I'll continue to read them both as well as to express my gratitude, respect, my admiration of their talents, and so on and so forth. And you can rest assured that when you do the same with either of them, I for one will never assign to you the illegitimate and completely unwarranted charge of being a sycophant. Principled conservatism prevents it of me.

There, I've said my piece. Take it how ever you like.


In a private email to me VA asked that I clarify a misunderstanding about her comment to this entry. Where she makes reference to being "harassed by a particular individual," she's referring to the time she closed comments in January, not to this current situation, not to Mr. Auster, nor to any VFR reader.

It's a perfectly reasonable explanation for the "particular individual" harassment charge. Read in context VA started out by addressing Anonymous's account of what happened back then, and my reply to Anonymous on the subject of what happened back then.

And if that is not evidence enough for you, then consider that she addresses the current issue later in the comment with the words beginning "this latest business involves..." So, obviously she's distinguishing between the two separate episodes and addressing them separately.

The "being harassed by a particular individual" comment has nothing to do with VFR or any VFR reader. It is simply an explanation to me for why she closed comments back in January, which I was unclear about.

Also, I simply do not agree with Auster's interpolation re VA's "rough and tumble" remark in her comments to this entry. Sure, you can read that into her statement if you really want to stretch it, but I personally have no interest in such as that.


Anonymous said...

This whole thing is just baffling. The single comment that started it was simply that one reader found several bloggers, VA for instance, to be long winded and that he appreciated VFR for being more concise. That's not a personal attack but a simple statement of opinion. Auster has stated that he should have edited the comment and that it could be seen as rude to VA.

VA has acted similarly when there was a discussion once over the Civil War. Several people disagreed with her view and she took it personally. One or two were a bit rude but for the most part the comments were simple statements of disagreement. She then proceeded to post about how she might have to shut down comments due to "personal attacks."

Terry Morris said...

Anonymous, thanks. I was a bit unclear about why VA shut down comments the time before. I don't recall why, but I was away from the computer for a fairly lengthy period during that time. I was surprised (and disappointed) to find, when I returned, that VA had closed comments to her blog and had moved everything over to her forum, which I cannot, and never have been able to, access.

Thanks for helping clear that up for me.


Vanishing American said...

Terry - I don't want to bring the 'blog wars' here to your blog but ''anonymous's" account of my closing comments is not complete.
None of my readers knows what comments and/or personal messages I receive. Many of the worst comments have been deleted. I was being harassed by a particular individual.
And yes I do take things personally and yes people do tend to keep bringing that to my attention. It's rather hard to be picked apart by strangers.
And yes, maybe I am just a weak and emotional female who has not business being in the rough-and-tumble blogging business.
This latest business involves my being swarmed by many, many commenters from VFR, and believe me there were nasty comments which most of you will not have seen. Worse words than 'sycophants' were used. So please be fair and consider that.

Terry - I believe you could access the forum; it may take a few tries.

Terry Morris said...

VA, speaking of being incomplete...

My answer to Anonymous was merely addressing the topic which was being discussed at the time you closed comments before. I didn't mean to imply that I thought he was giving me the whole unadulterated scoop, as if he or anyone else but you knows the whole story behind that. But I should have made that clear in the reply.

With the size of your respective readerships, your google rankings and so on and so forth, compared with my meager little insignificant existance over in this corner of the blogosphere, I can't even begin to understand at this point what either, and/or both of you must go through on a fairly regular basis with the numbers of commenters who have a particular beef with you and something you've written that didn't set quite right with them. I have taken that into account, believe me. Indeed, it is for this very reason that I determined early on in this venture to allow things to progress by natural processes here rather than to initiate a web-wide campaign of introducing everyone and their dogs to the existence of the new political blog Webster's. I considered that approach on the suggestion of a youngster close to me, but quickly rejected it.

And I don't want you to think I was being too sensitive or too aggressive in addressing the sycophant charge. The fact is that I've seen it leveled against Auster's readership several times over the last three or four weeks from different quarters, and it was just starting to get old. In any case, there doesn't seem to be much of a standard for applying it except that if you're in agreement with Auster most of the time and you express it often in your comments to his entries, then you're a sycophant. I think conservatives oughta be more self-governing and hold themselves to higher standards of conduct than that.

On accessing your forum, the problem I'm experiencing, and always have experienced since the day you opened the forum, is that anytime I click on the link, whether it be your permanent link at VA, one you put up at the end of an entry, or that someone else like Savage puts up in one of his posts, nothing related to your forum will come up for me. It's always an error page that comes up, always, which makes it impossible for me to access the forum. Like I've said before, I think this has to be something on my end, but I haven't been able to figure it out yet. I'll keep trying.

Thanks for clarifying things further for me. And sorry I wasn't more clear in my response to Anonymous. Keep your head up, and please keep blogging!


Hermes said...

Terry, I agree with you. The one thing I will say about Auster is that he does often come across as curt in his replies to commenters, even ones who aren't substantially disagreeing with him. But I think one has to remember that in the online world, we don't really know each other. If someone you've never met, have never had a telephone conversation with, and know nothing about other than what he's posted in online fora, posts a rather blunt reply to your comment, how can you take it personally?

While I do think VA should have just shrugged the whole thing off, I also think Sage McLaughlin's original comment was rude, poorly thought out, and unfair to VA. What Gintas J. later wrote--"I do find myself skimming her long posts"--is much more reasonable, and something I admit is true for me too. Sage McLaughlin lumped her in with the totally incomprehensible Mencius Moldbug, said that she was engaged in a "Tolstoy impersonation contest," that he finds her "unreadable in [her] long-windedness," that her "gaseous works" evoke only meager conversation, and speculated that this was a "function of insecurity" on her part. If someone said those things about me, I'd be offended too.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Morris, did VA remove you from her blog role? You were there before, which is how I normally got here, and now you appear to be no more.

Terry Morris said...


Yes; apparently VA removed Webster's from her blogroll. I noticed it early this morning. I don't know why, but I'm trying to find out.

In fact, doesn't her blogroll seem to you to be quite a bit shorter today? I know that she's also removed VFR, but since I've only been to most of the blogs on VA's blogroll maybe once or twice, I can't tell you which others are missing. I was just going by the length of the blogroll itself which, after I got over the initial shock of seeing that my blog was missing, realized that it seemed a lot shorter than usual.

But anyway...


Anonymous said...

It didn't surprise me to see VFR gone. I didn't notice any other links missing.

Anyways, I apologize if my first comment caused a falling out between you two.

Terry Morris said...


I don't think you caused anything, so no apology necessary. We're imperfect human beings and we can't always know how someone is going to react to our statements, we just do the best we can.

I've said, many times, that I have a lot of respect for VA. That she removed Webster's from her blogroll isn't going to change that; and whatever Auster says about her isn't going to change that.